Ideal Networks has launched NaviTEK IE, a handheld network tester designed for commissioning, preventative maintenance and troubleshooting of PROFINET industrial Ethernet networks, plus standard Ethernet IP networks.
The rugged copper and fibre troubleshooter has been developed to simplify the process of testing both cabling and networking performance, making it unnecessary to have a laptop with specialist software to identify and test network nodes and configuration, which could prove cumbersome in these typically desk-free environments.
The tester offers all the same features as the NaviTEK NT Pro, but with a range of additional tools specific to the needs of industrial Ethernet, where packet delivery time is critical for operation. For instance, the system health check feature on NaviTEK IE enables frontline technicians to pinpoint potential issues before they become network failures and result in downtime. With an easy-to-understand traffic-light system, the health check provides a quick indication of how each device is performing. Clicking on each device provides further details of the issues discovered so corrective actions can be taken.
Cable faults are another common cause of network downtime. To minimise this, advanced wiremap tools on NaviTEK IE allow users to automatically discover cable, network or device configuration, or faults, at the touch of a button. The tester uses time domain reflectometry (TDR) to provide accurate distance-to-fault data, testing every wire in the data cable (not every pair) to help isolate issues that other testers cannot find. It can be customised to support standard and non-standard cabling configurations.
For copper cabling, using the RJ45 or M12 interfaces included with the NaviTEK IE kit, the tester displays the correct wiring colours for the protocol used, measures the cable length and determines where and what the cable fault is, including split pairs, open circuits, short circuits and miswiring. Those testing fibre data cabling can use an optional SFP module to test different wavelengths, measure the optical RX power received and discover cable faults such as dirty connectors, breaks or bends that exceed specification limits.
Additional troubleshooting features include quick and easy discovery of incorrect device names, duplicate IP addresses, network latency issues and packet loss, and the ability to display and validate network node details quickly. The event log feature also helps to find intermittent issues by recording all network errors over a 48-hour period to determine whether the issue lies with the cabling, node, PLC or network configuration.
The NETMAP comparison tool can also perform a scan of the entire network to identify all active devices and save this for comparison to future scans. This enables easy identification of new or removed network devices, incorrectly configured devices or configuration changes, such as those caused by automatic firmware updates.
With the device blink feature, hidden or poorly labelled devices can also be found quickly, even in incorrectly labelled networks, by using the NaviTEK IE to flash a specific device LED. To prove the network has been commissioned successfully, NaviTEK IE also provides professional PDF or CSV reports that can be customised and shared with colleagues and clients using a free mobile app.